The temptation to consider ourselves as more important than others is always there, but maybe never more obvious than in the middle of a global pandemic. Fear, anxiety, and the disappearance of our societal norms all threaten to take over our thoughts and actions. We have all gone through a lot in the past year, and it would be easy to let hard circumstances turn us inward. So, as followers of Jesus—who teaches us to look outward, care for the least of these, and consider others as more important than ourselves—what are we to do?
“Mission work” might sound very official and important—something for people who are called to go to seminary or live their whole lives in another country. But, at its most basic level, being on mission means following the life and teaching of Jesus and intentionally loving and serving others. It’s a way of living our everyday life, not simply a one-time experience on the other side of the world. Of course, your life mission could take you across the globe, but it’s also just as likely to call you to serve others across the street.
That said, we don’t always feel ready for the “all day, everyday” kind of mission work. It’s a lot easier to leave that to the “professional Christians” who know what they’re doing, right? This attitude doesn’t come from a lack of desire to serve others, but almost always from a lack of confidence, experience, or knowledge of the needs around us. That’s why, at Experience Mission, we’re firm believers in the power of intentional experiences that help us learn how to actively love and serve others like Jesus. Here are a few ways to make “mission work” a part of your life in a more real way this year:
Back in March 2020, we wrote up a blog post detailing 5 ways to serve right now. Little did we know it would still be so relevant almost a year later. We’re all feeling the pinch of the pandemic in different ways, and it’s not magically disappearing any time soon. But one of the best ways we’ve found to beat the “Covid blues” is to look outside of yourself and seek out ways to bring life and light into the lives of those around you. You can start small. Lend a helping hand or a listening ear. Offer friendship and solidarity to neighbors with no other community. Give generously to causes continuing to do great work in the middle of the mess. Your mission work might be as simple as fighting the temptation to be selfish and insular and, instead, thinking of the needs of others a little more on a regular basis.
Yes, week-long mission trips will look different in 2021. But that shouldn’t stop you from diving in. Short term mission trips are one of the best ways to learn how to love and serve others like Jesus. You are forced out of your comfort zone and given the time and space to hear God speaking and see where he’s been working. In 2020, communities and ministries missed out on all the encouragement and support they typically receive from mission trip groups. This year, you can make a huge difference just by showing up and reminding people they matter.
Maybe you’ve never been on a mission trip. Or maybe your church typically plans one but they’ve decided to take a break while Covid is still prevalent. This is the perfect year for you to jump in and lead a trip yourself. Bring your church small group, your extended family, your friend group that you’ve missed all year. You show up ready to serve, and we handle the details. Check out EM’s 2021 Mission Trips for youth and adult groups to see what’s possible.
If you’re reading this blog post, the idea of “mission work” likely intrigued you on some level already. And hopefully, you see that it’s not super complicated or just for a few people with elaborate training or seminary degrees. But we all could use a kick-start to begin thinking about our everyday lives in this way. That’s what EM’s IMMERSION program does for young adults.
When you join an IMMERSION team for 1, 3, 6, or 9 months, you’ll get to make a difference one person at a time, making lifelong friendships with teammates and engaging different cultures on a personal level. You’ll mature and grow in your faith as you’re encouraged to live it out in new and challenging ways. And, in the end, we hope you’ll discover God’s larger calling and purpose for your life and become someone who doesn’t just do “mission work”, but rather lives your mission every single day.
What do these ideas spark in you? If you’d like to learn more about joining Experience Mission on a week-long mission trip or 1-9 month IMMERSION or Gap Year program, fill out an interest form today and we’ll help you figure out which opportunity is the best fit for you.
You must have a group size of at least 6 members to join this trip. Please view the Small Team trips or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.
For most trips, you must have a group size of at least 6 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.